Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Probability Angels by Joseph Devon : Character Interview

Matthew knows that he died twenty years ago. He has, after all, been bouncing around New York city ever since, causing mischief and having fun as a supernatural being. But recently some problems have been cropping up: not only is he hallucinating things in garbage cans, but his mentor doesn’t think he’s working up to his full potential, his best friend can’t offer any solace but drunken confusion, and his wife is dying in Central Park.
See, the past twenty years haven’t meant a thing because now it’s time for Matthew to make his second choice and become a tester of humanity.

And that’s all before the zombies show up.
Come explore the world of Matthew and Epp and see what a samurai from Feudal Japan has to do with the course of modern physics, what a two-thousand year old Roman slave has to do with the summit of Mount Everest, and what a dead man from Brooklyn has to do with the fate of the world.

Probability AngelsAuthor: Joseph Devon
Genre: Fiction – Urban Fantasy
Published by: CreateSpace (January 7th, 2009)
Age Recommendation: 18+ for sexuality and graphic/mature themes
Format: eBook & Perfect Paperback
ISBN13: 978-1441403865
Number of pages: 382

Buy the book at:

Matthew looked around and saw Epp coming through the bar towards them. “Yeah, he said he might drop by.” They watched Epp walk the bar, those who could see him giving curt nods like they were afraid to display any emotion around him. He was courteous in turn, waving and greeting those who he passed, but there was an aloofness about him that kept him detached.

“Hello, sir,” Benjamin said with a little nod of his large head as Epp came over to them.

“I don’t outrank you, Benjamin,” Epp said as he slid into the barstool on the other side of Matthew. “I keep telling you that.”
“Yes, sir,” Benjamin said. “Let me buy you a drink.” He threw another twenty on the bar and watched as it broke into a ten and some singles and another rocks glass appeared in front of Epp.
Epp picked up the glass slowly, turning it in the light, he swirled it gently under his nose and breathed in. Then he took a sip, letting it slide on his tongue, and then swallowed. He put the glass back down. “I don’t outrank you, Benjamin, but tonight I’m going to insist that you drink what I drink.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a crisp stack of bills held together by a paper band. Two of these dropped on the bar and Benjamin stared at them from the corner of his eye, frozen in mid-drink. Matthew looked at Epp, then down at the two stacks of money.

The bands across the packets had “Five Thousand” written on them in orange letters and as Matthew watched they began to shake and shrink, depleting in size as three new crystal rocks glasses appeared on the bar in front of them. The glasses filled up with a new type of scotch. When Matthew looked back at the stacks of bills, there were only a few left.

“Sir, I can’t let you…” Benjamin started, but Epp waved him silent.
“Even for the immortal, Benjamin, life is too short to drink bad scotch.”

Matthew picked up his glass, amazed at how heavy it was and how cool the crystal felt. He smelled the liquor inside and just closed his eyes, enjoying it. Benjamin only stared down at the bar, afraid to go near it. Epp took a sip and smiled, then looked over and saw all of this. “Don’t worry. Next round’s on me as well.” He threw another two stacks of bills onto the bar.

Matthew dared a sip and Benjamin dared to pick his glass up. Much the same as before, the three sat drinking in silence, letting the whisky do the talking. More rounds came, and the conversation started up again, nothing important being said, just words being exchanged over a shared drink or two. After a few more Benjamin pushed his chair out and stood up a little wobbly. “I think I’m done for the night,” he said. “Want to come down to the East Village, Mattie? We’ll f*** with the hipsters and scrounge for change. It’ll be fun.”

Matthew laughed. “No, thanks, I think I’m just going to sit tight for awhile.”

“Suit yourself,” Benjamin said, easing his weight off his bars-tool. He caught Epp’s eye. “That’s some good scotch,” he said, stifling a burp, “I thank you for that, sir.”

With Matthew, protagonist
What was the scariest moment of your life?
Oh that’s easy. Or, wait, do you mean my original life or my afterlife? As for my, you know LIFE life the scariest moment was when that mugger cornered my wife and I in an alley in Queens. Staring down the barrel of his gun and seeing it flash as he fired and knowing that a bullet was headed towards one of us.

As for my afterlife the scariest thing ever was easily the first time I saw one of the rotted things. See if we testers don’t do our jobs? If we don’t push and test humans to drive them forwards, then we start to rot. And once a tester rots enough...well they change. You’d probably call them a zombie, and I use that word sometimes too but it doesn’t entirely capture it for me. There’s a despair and a hunger in the rotted things that’’s horrible. And knowing how easy it would be to give up and turn into one of them. Utterly terrifying. The first time I saw one was the scariest part of my afterlife so far.

What book are you reading now?

You know, I’m not entirely sure I could really read a book. It would have to be all in one sitting. See I can become physical in form, and I do that a lot, but I pop in and out. Like if I’m’ travelling anywhere it’s easier to just leave physical form. So the thing is, if I was holding a book in my hands, it would drop to the ground as soon as I stopped being physical and the book would be left behind when I travelled. I mean if I knew exactly what page I was on and was able to find the exact same edition of the book when I went physical again I could pick it up and start reading where I left off...but otherwise I’m not sure how I’d swing that. Never really thought about that before.

Who should play you in a film? 

Brad Pitt. I mean, he looks nothing like me and I’m not sure he acts like me at all, though he does have a pretty good range. But who on earth answers that question with anything other than Brad Pitt?
What would we find under your bed?

Let’s see. I died in the 80’s, and my wife moved...sorry my widow moved after that. So my bed doesn’t exist anymore. I’m sure there’s a bed there now in the room I used to live in, but I couldn’t tell you what’s under it. Some other married couples things, hopefully happy memories I guess. At least I can still find my old building, though. I mean you take someone like my mentor, Epp? He’s two-thousand years old. All the landmarks from his life have crumbled to dust and been built over three or four times by as many different civilizations. Technically leaving our life behind is the most important lesson we have to learn, but everyone keeps some loose strings to tie them to who they used to be. You lose those, you might lose track of what the point is, you know? But if Epp wants to go revisit his home he’s liable to find a gas station there or something. It bugs him. He doesn’t show it but I know it does.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

Gray’s Papaya in New York City. It’s a hot dog place, a wait on line to order and eat standing up sort of thing. I used to love it just for the hot dogs but now I love it because at two in the morning it’s easy to pop in and grab a bite and the crowd there isn’t exactly going to notice if I make a mistake and appear where I shouldn’t or use a power accidentally or spill mustard on my tuxedo. For that matter they won’t even notice that I’m wearing a tuxedo.

Do you have any special routines or rituals?

It’s important for a tester to be able to find a person to push. A “mark” we call them sometimes. The big players, the testers who really know what they’re doing, they don’t just pick a kid with a skinned knee and help them get over their fear and go back to bike riding or whatever. No there’s a far deeper...feeling you can get, a far more intricate relationship you can have with your mark. You need to know yourself and you need to be able to read the humans all around you. Or at least that’s my grasp of it. Anyway, every day I try to spend some time on a busy New York sidewalk with my eyes closed just reaching out and feeling humanity all around me, trying to read it and pick up on the emotions, repressed and expressed, the fears and the joys and everything that is emanating from your kind. It’s like seeing thing with a whole different set of eyes, like I have infrared vision kind of, there’s more there to read than what you can just see. So I try to spend some time every day doing that.

What one word best describes you?


Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extrovert? Why?

Sheesh. I have no idea. Currently my friends consist of a centuries old nun, a guy who can’t stop bursting into flames, a ronin from Feudal Japan, and a two-thousand year old Roman Slave. And I just met most of them. I’m not sure what they think of me. Plus they’re dealing with some pretty heavy stuff and here I am, the newcomer to the group. I mean if I can get a word in edgewise or even get one of them to listen to me I consider it a great feat. But overall I think they view me as an extrovert. They do seem happy to engage in conversation with me and I’m always asking questions and trying to learn, so I probably seem outgoing to them. That’s extrovert, right?

What's the next big thing?

I’m a being of pure energy who is still on this world to help push humanity forward. The loved ones I left behind created such emotional gaps inside me that if I think about them too long I’ll slide into despair and rot away into a zombie. The work side of things, the actual pushing of a human, is also dangerous. In order to push a tester must revisit the moment of their own death and all they left behind, and it’s possible to be obliterated while pushing a human with enough potential. My mentor has the habit of teaching through immersion, like by letting me drown in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to try and teach me that I no longer have a physical body.

So what’s the next big thing? Honestly if I’m still around the next time the sun crosses that International Date Line, I’ll consider that a big thing.


Joseph Devon was born in New Jersey and currently lives in New York. He’s been a student, a nanny, worked at the Ground Zero recovery project after 9/11, and of all the things he’s created he is probably most proud of the character Kyo. He writes a blog, enjoys photography and he’s also at flickr, and tumblr, and twitter — sometimes he thinks that he might have one too many social networking outlets.

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March 14th – April R. & Wendy @ My Book Addiction and More
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Kaiirinn said...

The story seems interesting and well-written, looking forward to reading the whole thing! :D

Laurie said...

The Giveaway winners have been picked! Thi vy has won a digital copy of the book and the Print copy winner is Patricia.